Reviewed: The Pro’s Closet

Perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about being one Triathlete editor is that we have a super full stock of equipment to pick up from when we feel like replacing our current bike or wetsuit with something new. Don’t get me wrong – we go through a lot of gear tests here, but after spending a few weeks putting a bike through the glove, manufacturers will typically have it sent back by express. Who can blame them when some triathlon bikes cost as much as a car?

But because some triathlon bikes cost as much as a car, I have postponed buying my own after throwing my last triathlon bike off a bridge after an Ironman five years ago (read my book for the full story). My road bike has done a good job in the meantime, but I’m ready for a super-aero steed. I am also does not ready to drop the monetary equivalent of a used Hyundai for a bike, which is why I decided to check out the more affordable used bike scene. Specifically The Pro’s Closet.

The Pro’s Closet Review: The Basics

Fifteen years ago, mountain bike racer Nick Martin struggled to make ends meet. To make some extra money, he started selling his old bikes. This set in motion an entrepreneurial spirit that he did not know he had – soon he was driving a trailer around the country buying and selling bikes and equipment. This eventually evolved into what is now known as The Pro’s Closet, an online marketplace for certified used bikes.

The term “certified used bikes” is an important difference for The Pro’s Closet. For them, a used or used bike is something you can get on eBay or Facebook Marketplace, and that purchasing process can be a gamble. This is especially true if you buy a bike completely online, where you have to rely enormously on the seller – and unfortunately, misrepresentations and scams are all too common.

RELATED: How to buy a bike online

Pro’s Closet removes the rear gutter element by purchasing a used bike online with its Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) award, the only company in the bike industry to offer that safety. Before listing a used bike, it undergoes a 141-step inspection process to ensure it meets the highest standards of quality and safety. If it passes mustering, it undergoes a professional tune-up to ensure the ride is like new for its next life.

The Pro’s Closet Review: What we liked

The details of each bike listed on the website go beyond what most online bike sellers offer on their website. In addition to close-ups of each component, The Pro’s Closet also shows every scratch, dent and notch on the bike, so the customer knows exactly what they’re getting.

This attention to detail also extends to the online bike buying process. Customer service staff are available via live chat or phone (and in my case video chat so I could read lips and use closed captions as I am deaf) to guide customers through the search process – similar to a brick and mortar bike shop. On my call, Rachel Blechman, senior sales manager at The Pro’s Closet, started with the simplest questions (“What’s your budget?” “What bikes have you ridden in the past?” “What bike size are you currently riding?”) And moved on. towards more detailed questions (“How are you doing with electronic gearshifters?” “Do you prefer disc brakes or rim brakes?”). From there, the website’s search engine generated a list of options that fit my specific criteria, until I found one that marked all my boxes: a 2020 Field IA Advanced Triathlon Bike.

What I especially appreciated about this experience of buying a used bike online was that I sat 100 percent in the driver’s seat throughout the shopping experience. Blechman never tried to sell me something I did not want, and I never felt talked down to. This is vastly different from most experiences I have had in most bike shops, which overall can be described as “a will-shaking competition.” Instead of the typical bike shop ego and condescension about my many (many!) Questions, I got straightforward answers.

Because of this, I felt extremely confident making a purchase. With shipping and taxes, I paid just under $ 2,500 for a two year old but new to me bike. Two days later, the bike was on my doorstep, ready to assemble and ride. That was exactly what I saw in the pictures, right down to the scrape on the fork. It may sound strange, but being able to confirm the bike’s “fingerprints” was in a way comforting.

A close-up of a scratch on a bicycle frame from The Pros Closet when you buy a used bicycle online.

(Photo: Pro’s Closet)

My bike understandably came with some fitting required. This made me nervous as I am not much of a gear head. From this:

A packaged and bubble-packed used bike purchased online at The Pros Closet

A packaged and bubble-packed used bike purchased online at The Pros Closet

For this:

A complete triathlon bike from buying a used bike online at The Pros Closet

A complete triathlon bike from buying a used bike online at The Pros Closet

was not as complicated as I thought it would be, thanks to an included bag of assembly tools and step-by-step print and video instructions. Full disclosure: I also got an assist from Triathletes gear editor as I could not figure out where a small rubber plug should go. (It turned out to be to cover holes in the seatpost, for those interested.)

The Pro’s Closet Review: What we did not like

If you are looking for a completely custom bike, it is probably not for you to buy a used bike online. After a bike has undergone the rigorous inspection process in The Pro’s Closet, it is packed for shipment. This not only keeps the bike in perfect condition, but it also speeds up the shipping process – once a bike is purchased, it is labeled and shipped out for two-day shipping.

Because of this, it is not possible to say that you will this bicycle frame, but with to seat or those gear when shopping at The Pro’s Closet – although this is typically also the case in most bike shops. If you want to mix and match, do it yourself. If you have an absolute maximum budget for your bike, include the price of things like seats and pedals that you have to pay for. You will also want to budget for services from a professional in your local bike shop – at least to check your assembly work, but hiring them to perform the assembly and a proper bike care is also a solid idea. (As we say in our How to Buy a Bike Online Guide, a professional building your bike can make the difference between a first ride that ends with a smile and one that ends with a facial reconstruction surgery.)

Size / fit is also a consideration when buying a bike online. With more than a decade of riding several road, mountain and triathlon bikes, I have a good sense of what works for me in terms of fit and geometry. A new athlete may not have that information, and while The Pro’s Closet sales reps are certainly helpful, they are no substitute for a pre-shopping visit with a bike fitter to get individual recommendations. This will help increase the likelihood of finding the best bike for you.

It is also important to note that the supply chain problems plaguing the market for new bicycles also apply to used bicycles. Pro’s Closet can only sell what they are able to buy, so there is ebb and flow for their inventory. If you are looking for a very small or very large frame, a very specific kind of group set or even a particular bike brand, you may need to wait until it arrives in stock.

While it is certainly more affordable to buy a used bike than a brand new ride, The Pro’s Closet is at the top end of the prices. What my bike was listed for was at the top end of what was recommended by the Bike Blue Book, and many of the bikes listed on the site follow suit. More savings could certainly be achieved by going through another online seller of used bikes, but there is a much greater sense of “buyer beware” when you do.

This review is for the purchase end of The Pro’s Closet platform only. I did not sell a bike to them, nor did I take advantage of the guaranteed repurchase program, which then offers 18 months of repurchase value of your bike if you want to get a different ride year after year. But based on my positive experience as a customer, I would definitely consider these options downward.


There is a global bike shortage, so buying a used bike online is something many cyclists and triathletes are considering these days. Doing so carries an inherent risk, especially when going through websites where the seller and the product cannot be verified. Even when you can meet with the seller to check the used bike before you buy, there is a risk – unless you go with a bike mechanic, it’s hard to feel 100 percent sure of what you’re getting. Pro’s Closet removes much of that fear.

That, combined with a hassle-free shopping experience, makes The Pro’s Closet a solid option for people who want to buy a used bike online.

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